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Renowned American scientist, Prof James Sylvester Gates awarded honorary doctorate

Prof James Sylvester Gates is one of the most influential figures in Theoretical Physics.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has awarded an honorary doctorate to Prof James Sylvester Gates in recognition of his intellectual contributions of the highest academic distinction together with outstanding contributions to public life and the scientific and engineering society at large.

He is the current President of the American Physical Society and has served on the USA Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, during the term of President Obama. Prof James Sylvester Gates has been instrumental in improving science and engineering to practical challenges, such as the current pandemic, climate change and the economy.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University Prof Tshilidzi Marwala conferred the Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) in engineering on Prof Gates at the recent virtual graduation celebrations.

Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the wider community or who have achieved exceptional academic or creative excellence.

“James Sylvester Gates has had a remarkable international career in the scientific industry, He is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and has especially worked to build African excellence,” Prof Marwala said.

Prof Gates is a renowned expert in supersymmetry, supergravity and superstring theory. He is also currently the Brown Theoretical Physics Center Director, the Ford Foundation Professor of Physics and Affiliate Professor of Mathematics, and Watson Institute for International Studies & Public Affairs Faculty Fellow at Brown University.

Among his numerous awards in an astonishing career is the USA National Medal of Science, the highest recognition given by the USA to scientists for his contributions both to science and the public engagement in the beauty and wonder of science.

Prof Gates has a history of engagement with South Africa and this University.

Watch Prof Gates delivering his acceptance speech.

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